Apple of Iron at APT10 animation retrospective

Impact: Cultural Impact

Impact summary

Selection for and curated participation in 50-year retrospective of Australian animation at Asia Pacific Triennial (APT10)

Research and engagement activities leading to impact

The initial research leading to this impact is itself an older activity; this creative work was the summative practice element of my Master of Animation (UTS, 2009). There have, however, been many screenings around the world, not only in the first two years after the film was made, but in retrospectives regarding abstract animation and Australian animation in various countries. In some cases, such as the Melbourne International Animation Festival, this output has given me direct contact with audiences through QnA sessions, and has led to extended relationships with festival curators, other animators, and allowed me to become established in the creative arts as an animator.
It is also worth noting that my supervisor during this previous postgraduate work is a central artist in tranSTURM, the art collective I have been collaborating with since 2014. I am certain that without this particular filmic output, that other relationship would never have developed. Given the volume of public art generated through my involvement with tranSTURM, this is a pivotal creative element in terms of my future career path and creative path. Apart from leading me toward tranSTURM, it was my success internationally with Apple of Iron that led my alma mater to inviting me to guest lecture to the next batch of animation students, and that led to further casual lecturing engagements. Apple of Iron's success has directly input to my ongoing work in academia, and the subject of my current PhD research. Additionally, the success of this work internationally led my alma mater to award me their Vice Chancellor's Award for Excellence.

Research outputs associated with the impact

Walls, R. (2009) Apple of Iron [short film]. Australia.
Walls, R. (2009) Making Apple of Iron [short film]. Australia.

Researcher involvement

I am the sole researcher and creator involved in the development and delivery of the work.

Outcomes of research leading to impact

The ongoing international attention to this short animated abstract work has led it to having a persistent space in Australian festivals that seek to encapsulate Australian Animation history. Due to the unique physical processes involved, and the scholarly nature of the film, it is also spoken to by academics who are invested in modern abstraction. The unique nature of the film as an abstract work, as visual music, and as a modern Australian screen output in a unique category lends to its selection for retrospectives regarding Australian animation. I note that two up-and-coming animators who screened alongside me for my international premiere in Annecy (2009) were also represented in this same retrospective - there is a kind of flow through decades of who makes it to the top festivals, what it means for the Australian industry, and the value of A-list 'official selection' as an indicator of the permanence a work should have in the story of national film history. Apple of Iron was official selection at several A-list Oscar-qualifying festivals, and that is a large part of why the work has persisted, been included in several retrospectives, and why it was invited to participate in this recent retrospective of Australian animation.

Beneficiaries of the impact

In the case of this retrospective, the beneficiaries are the audiences who are able to engage with the work during the event. As this was arranged as a part of a large art event, the Asia-Pacific Triennial, this also benefits myself and my work - as a film with multiple screenings and a long lifespan is validated through repeated screenings. I would suggest that having successful films that screen internationally, and represent the Australian creative arts is also beneficial to CSU, as it suggests that I present an excellence in media creation, which may be of specific interest to students.

Details of the impact achieved

The impact itself is invitation to be part of a curated festival that presents 50 years of Australian animation history. To be one of these selected animators is highly prestigious, and for this to be part of a larger art event, the Asia-Pacific Triennial, is additionally an engagement at an international level. While in other disciplines there is no value to repeat 'publication' the cumulative effect of repeat screenings for a short film are incredibly important. Works such as Apple of Iron have no other avenue for screening outside of festivals and curated events. Apple of Iron has had so many opportunities to screen, not only in its initial festival run, but in an array of retrospective contexts through festivals and museums, that it bolsters the understanding of the work as valuable in terms of Australian culture, and international abstract / visual music culture. It is like repeatedly making it through peer review without any need for revision, by different reviewers over many years.
Impact date04 Dec 201225 Apr 2022
Category of impactCultural Impact
Impact levelInternational


  • Animation
  • Traditional Animation
  • film animation
  • paint on glass
  • grattage sur negatif
  • scratch animation
  • noise art
  • Defektro Noise Army
  • Rachel Walls
  • APT10
  • Asia Pacific Triennial
  • experimental film
  • abstract animation
  • music video

Countries where impact occurred

  • Australia